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The Complete Guide to Motivation in Life and Poker (now in 5 different languages)

    • Schnitzelfisch
      Joined: 08.11.2008 Posts: 4,952

      So far, this guide has been featured in:

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      A few of the community members were so kind to translate this guide into their mother languages, and I am very grateful for that. If you would prefer to read the guide in your own language, you can access it through the links (images) below.

      Hi everyone,

      It's been a while since I wrote the Quick Guide to Skyrocketing Your Poker And Life Productivity, and since then I have worked with over 70 clients both individually and in group settings, I have produced many videos for pokerstrategy and held countless Mindset Webinars.

      I've also created the Skyrocket Your Productivity Workshop that helps you get even more out of the productivity guide and includes the systems that I developed over the last couple of years that help me move from consuming materials to implementation.

      I have spent these years working on figuring out what separates the motivated people from demotivated people. I've talked to many motivated people about this and I've also gone through plenty of books that talked about the subject.

      As I realized that there's nothing out there (no book, no course or anything similar) that would give a complete overview of motivation for poker players, I decided to write it up on my own.

      Originally I actually wanted to make a paid online course out of the content that I'll share with you today. But I start realizing more and more that if I did that, a ton of people would miss out on it and that doesn't align with my values.

      I want to give something back to the community because if you guys didn't read, implement and support my content, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now. So think of this guide as a thank you gift to you.

      Now, without further ado, I'm happy to present to you:

      You can use this guide in two ways - either as a step by step process like the productivity guide, or, if you are already doing some of the things from it, you can use it as a reference to try out new things.

      Just reading through the guide will not get you any results, but taking action and completing the action steps will. I would much rather prefer that you implement just one thing from the guide than to read it all and take action "later".

      Here's the table of contents that you can use for quick reference:

      1. Energy levels
      2. Systems
      3. Vision and mission upgraded
      4. Bucket list system
      5. Motivation to grind
      6. Motivation to study
      7. Motivation in all areas of life
      8. Motivation and goal setting
      9. Getting unstuck
      10. Motivating environment
      11. Accountability calls
      12. Learning from successful people
      13. Snowball effect
      14. Planning and self-reflection
      15. Appreciating progress
      16. Find your top performance hours
      17. Rewards and punishments
      18. Overcoming self-doubt
      19. Analyze your own motivation
      20. Moving Forward

      Now let's jump right into it!

      1. Energy levels

      What happens when you're tired and without energy?

      Do you ever really want to work and get a lot of stuff done? Do you feel really motivated?

      I presume not.

      And what about the times when you are bursting with energy, what happens then?

      I bet that you're much more likely to be productive in those situations.

      So, before we go into any specific techniques for staying motivated, make sure you take care of your energy levels by frequently exercising, eating healthy, sleeping well and staying hydrated throughout the day.

      Physical energy is the foundation for top performance and it's also strongly related to motivation.

      Think about what's going on when you're demotivated. I know that when I'm demotivated, I'm tired, bored, don't have anything exciting to do, feeling sad or down.

      On the other hand, when I am motivated, I feel happy, excited and full of energy.

      But here's the thing.

      You don't become excited, happy and full of energy after you randomly become motivated.

      Most of the times, it's the other way around - you first become excited about something, or have a lot of energy. And those aren't random. You can systematically achieve high energy and excitement levels.

      You can learn about how to increase your energy levels in my Productivity Guide. If you're not sure how to form habits that actually stick, check out my guide to creating bulletproof habits.

      After you have that down, all of the strategies, systems and frameworks will be much easier to implement and therefore get you better results.

      As for how to live an exciting life, I will show you how to systematically do that through this guide. So don't worry, I have you covered.

      2. Systems

      Motivation in itself is very swingy, no matter what you do about it.

      It inevitably goes up and down, and at times you will get stuck.

      That's why motivation on its own isn't the answer to all of your problems.

      On the other hand, if you on creating systems for yourself that you can use on a frequent basis, the motivation will start to matter less and less - at least in the periods when your motivation is low.

      If you want to know more about what systems are, how to design effective systems on your own and specific examples and templates for them, check out my Skyrocket Your Productivity Workshop.

      If you look closely, we will also be creating a lot of systems throughout this guide. Every chapter has it's repeatable set of action steps. There is no randomness, just repeatable processes and frameworks that will get you the results that you want.

      So instead of answering the question of "how can you become more motivated", I will be showing you specific systems and frameworks that you can use to get your motviation levels back up when they fall down.

      I can't promise you that you will be motivated 100% of the time after you implement the systems from this guide (I would be lieing if I said that I'm highly motivated all the time), but I can promise you that the percentage of time when you are motivated will be much higher and that you will be able to get unstuck much faster.

      3. Vision and mission upgraded

      I talked about this both in my productivity guide and in my video on motivation on pokerstrategy. I do think that you need to know what you want to achieve and how you will get there before you can actually get anywhere.

      But today I want to expand on this and add what I've learned to it.

      Make your vision big and exciting. I don't know about you, but I never dream of just being able to pay the bills. This doesn't excite me and get me up in the morning. However, thinking about having the freedom to travel the world certainly does, as well as to be able to live in a cool city like San Francisco, Vienna, or Paris.

      Don't censor yourself when you write your vision and mission. If you really want a Ferrari, don't write that you want to donate to charity instead. This won't excite you and help you stay motivated if you don't really want to do it. Also, you should write down what YOU really want to do, not what others tell you that you should do or expect you to do.

      Don't limit yourself. If you say no to yourself in your head before you even try to do something, of course you will fail at it. Ask yourself this question: "if there wouldn't be a possibility of a failure and I would succeed at everything I started, what would I do?" now write that down as a part of your vision.

      Your vision can become even more effective if you write down very what is your perfect day, week and the environment that you want to live in. The more specific you are here, the better. It is way more motivating if you have a clear picture of the house you want to live in in the future than if you just say that you want to live in a big house on the beach. You can use the visualizing exercise that I talk about later to visualize these days, weeks and environments.

      Add a list of successful people who already achieved what you want to achieve to your mission statement. You will reach out to these people and they will help you skyrocket your progress and avoid the mistakes that they have made in the past. We will cover the actual strategies for connecting with these people in the future chapter on the motivating environment.

      You can also improve your mission statement by writing down things that are stopping you from reaching your vision and making a step by step plan for getting them (for example, you don’t know a person X and skill X)

      After you’re done with your vision and mission, I would strongly recommend you to also make a list of things that you are grateful for. Often we live in the past and in the future, without appreciating what we already have. By writing this Gratefulness Statement and reviewing it every morning, you will find that your days will start more positively and that will improve your productivity as well.

      Change your vision as necessary. Vision isn't something that you write once. It's something that changes all the time when you learn new things in life. Some priorities will come and others will go, and that's OK.

      Reread your vision every morning until you memorize it. It doesn't make sense to do this forever, but if you do read the vision every morning, it will eventually become engraved in your subconscious mind and you will automatically start making decisions that are in line with it.

      It's not over after you have memorized your vision. You can then replace this with a different exercise, with visualization. The key to this exercise is that you just pick one exciting thing out of your vision each day and to be ultra-specific while visualizing it. Focus on how experiencing it would make you feel. Let me give you an example.

      If you really want to live in Thailand, visualize waking up in your spacious apartment. You go to the living room and it's sunny. You open the glass doors of your apartment and the heat punches you in the face. You continue your way towards the beach and start running. You are running around in the peace and quiet of a morning on an endless beach of white sand.

      How does that make you feel? I know that visualizing experiences like this is very helpful to me and it only takes a couple of minutes a day. You can do this as a part of your morning routine, or before going to sleep while lying in bed.


      1) If you haven't done so, write your vision and mission. Make sure it's exciting, big, uncensored and not limited.
      2) If you're having issues coming up with things that you want in your life, you can try another exercise: Take a piece of paper and just write down everything that comes in your head immediately. No censoring, no limits, no thinking. Just sitting down and writing.
      3) Improve your vision statement by adding the perfect day, week and living environment.
      4) Improve your mission by adding a list of people who you need to reach out to in order to reach your vision faster.
      5) Write down a list of things that are stopping you from reaching your vision. Make an actionable plan to get those things and add it to your mission statement.
      6) Write a Gratefulness Statement – a list of things that you are grateful for. Review this along with the other statements.
      7) Review (read and adjust if necessary) your vision every morning until you memorize it and it becomes subconscious. This should take you about 2 weeks
      8) After 2 weeks, switch to visualizing. In order to make this habit stick, I would strongly recommend that you connect it to an existing habit like washing teeth, eating breakfast, or simply add it in your morning routine.

      4. Bucket list system

      Visualizing awesome experiences work great, but there's always a way to take things to the next level.

      A couple of months ago I've found a new accountability partner. She's an awesome person, she works as a social media director while traveling around the world. It was very inspiring to talk to her and soon we got to the subject of bucket lists. I've created a couple of these in the past, but there was always something stopping me from implementing anything.

      First, she asked me about what was stopping me from doing the things I wanted to do. I've had a couple of things stopping me:

      1) I only focused on expensive things.

      My bucket lists were always full of driving fast cars and visiting exotic places that was it. With time, I realized that not everything needs to be super expensive. I did things like taking my parents out to dinner, singing karaoke, trying different kinds of wine… And you can do this too. In fact, that's the beauty of it – learning that you can appreciate life even without spending a ton of money.

      2) I didn't have anyone to do some of the things with me.

      I didn't know anyone who would want to go bungee jumping with me. Or canyoning. Or rafting. Unfortunately my girlfriend just isn't the adrenaline type of person and most of my friends live in different countries. So I did two things regarding this: I focus on doing the adrenaline things while I'm traveling, and I also started brainstorming more things that I can do alone or with my girlfriend.

      3) I didn't have a camera to record these experiences

      I kept procrastinating doing amazing things because I always wanted to have a GoPro camera to record them. I didn't want to waste bungee jumping without creating a lasting memory of it.

      Those were my barriers. Guess what I did the first thing after I got off the call? I went and I bought a GoPro. That's one barrier destroyed immediately and one excuse less to use in the future.

      Then, I wanted to figure out how to get myself to actually cross the things off the list on a consistent basis, so I developed a system.

      The system is really simple.

      I have a bucket list of all the things I want to do
      I add at least one item to the list every day
      I have to cross at least one item off the list every week

      It's that simple. I also have an accountability partner who assures that this actually gets done.

      The results of this are incredible. I feel like I'm actually experiencing parts of the vision all the time, which doesn't make it just a thing in the distant future. And this drives me to improve more and more so that I can experience more and more. Try it out!


      1) Write down the barriers that are stopping you from doing the items from the item list
      2) Develop a plan for each of these barriers
      3) Set up a bucket list (it can just be a word document or a paper notepad)
      4) Make a habit out of adding one thing to the bucket list a day (I do this after I turn on the PC, but you can connect it to another existing habit)
      5) Commit to doing one thing from the list each week (bonus points: get an accountability partner to hold you accountable)

      5. Motivation to grind

      I know that a lot of you struggle with motivation to grind, so let's go into details here. This is actually a tough subject because there are many different possible causes, and therefore also many diferent solutions. I'll go over a couple of most common ones here.

      But before we dig in, ask yourself this question: Why are you not motivated to grind? »I don't know isn't good enough«, because deep down you do, and you need to take some time to really think and find that reason.

      One of the common reasons is that you're just playing poker to earn money and that's all that you think about. Eventually, this just won't be good enough. If the answer to the question »why do you play poker?« is to make easy money, go do the vision exercises from step 1 and find a higher purpose for what you're doing. Without a proper purpose, it's really hard to stay motivated.

      Another reason is that you don't have huge ambitions in poker. This is also related to chapter 1 where I mentioned that if you don't have a big, exciting vision, you likely won't be very motivated. If that's the case, go and red your vision. You need to have a high-aiming, challenging vision if you want to get the drive that you need to grind more.

      How about boredom? Do you ever get bored of grinding and it's hard for you to put in volume? Well, guess what – it's your fault. You can't change the game, but you CAN change the way you look at it. In this case, you need to figure out a way to make poker more fun and exciting to you, for example by including session goals in your sessions (focusing on a specific leak you are trying to fix or a new strategy you are trying to implement). For more information on this, visit my learning to learn video series on pokerstrategy.

      Are you maybe hesitant to start grinding because you are on a downswing? In that case, you have psychological issues that I can't help you with, but you should check out some materials from Erik Stenqvist or Jared Tendler on that subject.

      Another thing that I like to do is look at poker sessions as a playground. Especially if you don't have issues with studying a lot for poker, this can help. The basic idea is that you look at the sessions as opportunities to apply and test what you've learned earlier, seeing what works and what doesn't. With this approach, you will become better and better every single time you play a poker session – does that not sound compelling? Many clients have reported that after they study, they are really excited to go and play a session to see how the concepts work in action – why don’t you try this out?

      A cool thing here is that this concept also applies to all other areas of your life. You can use it at the university (working on projects to apply what you've learned), work, sports, nutrition, self-improvement… Every time you consume material you can play around with it and test it to see how it works in action.

      Did I miss something? Let me know as a reply to this thread and I'll be happy to reply to you and update the guide.


      1) Figure out what's stopping you from grinding.
      2) Develop a solution for this (you can use one of my solutions)
      3) If the solution doesn't work well for you, try another one. Then another one. Keep trying until you come up with one that works.

      GET WORKSHEET - Motivation to grind & Motivation to study

      6. Motivation to study

      Motivation to study is very similar to motivation to grind in many aspects, so I will just mention a couple of different ideas that you can use on top of the ones above.

      If you're bored, you can make studying more fun by either studying in a different way (watching videos, analyzing hands, calculating ranges…) that is more exciting for you. You can also make things more exciting by finding other people to study together with you. Think about it, wouldn't it be much more fun to discuss hands with people who you like talking to? Now, by this I don't mean Skype chat groups – those are usually pretty boring and not very active. I'll talk about this more in depth in a future section of this guide.

      Again, if you're looking for ideas to make learning more exciting, check out my learning to learn video series. Just because 1 form of studying doesn’t excite you, this doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy another one – but you need to go and try other ways of studying first before you decide that they won’t work for you!

      You can also look at studying as creation of new ideas that you can implement while playing. So in a way, by putting in more hours in studying, your sessions will actually be more fun as well because they won’t be the same over and over again. If there’s always something new to implement, that is way more exciting than just playing on autopilot over and over again.

      Perhaps you’re not motivated to study just because you always study in the same way. Of course if you review 10 hands, watch 1 video and construct 5 ranges each day, that will turn in a boring routine eventually. Well, guess what. You don’t have to do this! You can mix things up a bit. Why don’t you focus on watching videos one week, reviewing hands another week and constructing ranges the third week? You can then cycle these studying techniques week by week. This will allow you to balance these different areas in the long run without having the same boring routines every day.

      Do you often just forget to study and get lost in playing? In that case, you can set up a system of reminders (calendar reminders, alarms, habit tracking systems…), or simply include studying in your morning routine (more on that later).

      Maybe you’re not motivated to study because just the idea of studying for 3 hours every day annoys you. Well in that case, you’re probably not studying at all now. Here’s the newsflash: You don’t need to start at 3h a day. Even if you start at 15min a day, that’s almost 100 hours a year more than you’re putting in now. Consistency is the key if you want to make good progress in the long-term, so start small but consistent. Don’t start by setting a goal to review 30 hands a day. Start at 5 or 3 hands or even 1 hand instead. Once you’re doing this consistently for a couple of weeks, you can slowly and gradually increase it.

      By the way, this goes the same with grinding – just grinding an hour a day will bring you in 365 hours of quality volume each year. Doing challenges by mindlessly grinding 12h a day for a week will most likely not bring you much money and improvement, and you will spend weeks hating poker after them, complaining about how demotivated you are to grind because you are burned out.

      The process/action steps are the same as for the motivation to grind above.


      1) Figure out what's stopping you from grinding.
      2) Develop a solution for this (you can use one of my solutions)
      3) If the solution doesn't work well for you, try another one. Then another one. Keep trying until you come up with one that works.

      GET WORKSHEET - Motivation to grind & Motivation to study

      7. Motivation in all areas of life

      You have probably guessed it by now - you can use the same concepts from the previous two chapters on all other areas of your life as well.

      Do you lack motivation to exercise?

      Well, instead of jogging each day which you hate, why don’t you go out and play basketball with your friends twice a week if you really enjoy hanging out with your friends?

      And if you hate the traditional studying methods when it comes to university, study with a group of friends or find some other studying techniques – an e-book called “Learn More, Study Less” from Scott H Young has some amazing ideas on this topic, so check it out!

      8. Motivation and goal setting

      I know that some people use goal setting and challenges to motivate themselves. But how long does that motivation last? I’ve seen many people set challenges and goals for themselves just to give up when things get tough. You don’t want that, you want long-term, consistent motivation.

      The biggest mistake that people make with goal setting is that they don’t align it with their visions and missions. Why? Because they never take the time to even think about what they want from their lives and write it down on paper. Just saying that you will play 100k hands this month won’t motivate you to actually do it, especially if you’re used to playing 20k hands a month. In fact, it’s likely that it will demotivate you when you play on autopilot all the time, keep losing money and focus, and failing over and over again.

      So let’s look at goal setting from a different perspective – as small steps or milestones towards your vision or mission. If they are actually aligned with what you want in your life and they don’t drive you in another direction, they can actually help you keep motivated because by accomplishing them consistently, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and progress.


      1) If you haven’t done so, write down your vision and mission
      2) Watch my video on Goal Setting to set some good goals
      3) Set up a system like my Tasks Planning system from my Visual Planning: Tasks video on Pokerstrategy to keep track of your progress

      9. Getting unstuck

      So, you’ve had a lot of motivation, but you’re stuck now. Something went wrong. Either you broke up with your girlfriend, you hit a downswing or you simply don’t feel excited by poker for some reason. So, what do you do?

      I know that in the past, I used to be stuck for months when something went wrong. And I actually wasn’t really stuck all that much over the last few years. This last week, the things were different though. This was easily the worst week for me this year, the bad news kept coming and every day I was hit by something worse in the face. It wasn’t looking very pretty.

      So, what did I do? Did I sleep all days and play video games to forget about my problems like I did in the past? No, I didn’t, although this was a standard for me in the past. The first thing that I did is I accepted it. I messed some things up and I accepted responsibility for them. Then, I reached out to my circle of mentors and successful friends who have been in similar situations before, I admitted that I was stuck and I asked them for advice.

      During one of these conversations, I got the idea to write this guide, and it was a really exciting idea. So without further hesitation, I started writing. As I wrote more and more, I started feeling better and better. I’m not even close to finishing, but I already feel amazing, inspired and excited again.

      This was also a great learning experience for me because I had to think deeply about where do I want to be in 5 years and which direction I want to go in my life. And I actually realized that what I was doing wasn’t getting me where I want to go, even though I was constantly self-reflecting. Sometimes we just don’t dig deep enough on our own and we need some bad situations to help us realize that what’s happening right now just isn’t what we want to be doing. And once we realize that, it’s exciting, inspiring and empowering, so motivation isn’t an issue.

      If you started a project or a challenge and just got stuck in the process it, it helps a lot of you take some time and take a step back to reflect on the situation at hand. Ask yourself why you lost the motivation. List the list of things that you need to do to move forward. Then, cut yourself some slack. If you were grinding for 6h a day before, and you have developed a huge resistance towards grinding so much while you were stuck, it’s not likely that you will overcome this issue by just wanting to start the 6h grind again. Instead, choose a different approach. Break the issue down into as small pieces as possible – start by grinding 15min or 30min a day.

      The crucial thing here is to start taking action as soon as possible instead of just thinking about your problems and procrastinating. Once you just get started, you will soon gain back the momentum and get back on track. Ironically, if you want to grind for 6h, you won’t even get started again in the first place and you won’t have the chance to gain the momentum back.

      The main reason why I didn’t remain stuck for ages this time was because I had a plan. I knew that this was going to happen eventually, it was just a matter of time. The concept here is the same as with building habits, or even with playing poker. Think about it – if you come on the river and an ugly turn card comes, and you don’t have a plan, you’re pretty much screwed, right? It’s the same in life. No plan = not good. However, if you have a plan when you come on the river, you can just follow through with it and completely avoid the problem.

      So, how can you actually apply this to your life?

      Below is a framework that you can use to get unstuck now (if you're stuck at the moment) or at a future time (if you're not stuck at the moment).


      If you are stuck right now:

      1) Identify why you are stuck
      2) Talk to your friends, admit that you are stuck and ask them what they would do in your place
      3) Write down what are the positive things that you can learn from this experience
      4) Develop an action plan to get unstuck (list all the things that you need to do)
      5) Break down the action plan into as small pieces as possible
      6) Make sure that you do at least one part of the action plan every day, no matter how small it is
      7) Keep taking action until you re-build the momentum

      If you are not stuck right now:

      1) Identify at least 3 most common situations that could get you stuck in the future (hint: you can simply think about what got you stuck in the past)
      2) Make a plan of action for each of those situations and write it down (it can include a routine similar to the one above)
      3) Revisit this plan once you do get stuck and follow through with it.

      10. Motivating environment

      As I mentioned in the last chapter, it helped me a ton to have like-minded friends and mentors that I could reach out to once I got stuck. Having a network like that is also very helpful because it will speed up your progress and help you get great ideas even when you are not stuck.

      Some people say that you are the average of 5 people that you spend the most time with. So, if you are surrounded by a ton of negative and unambitious people who happen to be your friends and family… Well, you’re not going to maximize your potential.

      I know that for a lot of people it’s hard to let go of their old friends who slow down your progress because they are afraid that they would end up alone, so I’m not going to ask you to do that. Instead, I will focus on helping you find more like-minded people first, and then you can decide whether you want to decrease the time spent with your own friends or not on your own.

      In this chapter, I’m going to show you how you can build a network of people that will help you get unstuck and get on the next level faster.

      When you are reaching out to others, you should focus on reaching out to people who are at least a level above you in a certain skill, whether it’s poker, nutrition, exercising, business or productivity. I personally prefer to find people who are the best at what they do, but I know that this might be a bit hard to do at first.

      One thing that you need to understand about reaching out to other people is that it’s not about you getting something from them. Of course this might eventually happen, but often you won’t get anything in return immediately. So instead of focusing what you can get from people, think about what you can give to them.

      Luckily for you, one of the biggest value adds is in something that pretty much everybody is capable of doing – in implementing advice and thanking people for it. This is because so few people do this. I give out advice to many people, and the majority never implement it. Some implement it but don’t let me know about it. The people who implement it and do let me know about it are the ones that I will always happily help in case they get stuck because I know that they won’t waste my time by not implementing the new advice that I give them.

      Let me give you a script that you can use right now to reach out to others. They can be poker coaches or other poker players. You need to be a bit careful with asking for help if you are talking to a super busy person like a very well-known poker coach, but if you’re just talking to a poker player you can generally ask for more, at least a short Skype call. What the hell, I’ll make your life easier and just give you scripts for both.


      Hi [NAME],

      My name is Primoz, also known as Schnitzelfisch on Pokerstrategy. I’ve followed your last video series closely and implemented the concepts from it. The concept that I really liked and that made the biggest difference for me was X – I was very lost in that spot before, but now I’m very confident that I can make +EV decisions in this spot.

      Thank you so much for producing the series, it made my life a ton easier!

      I have a couple of questions on Y – would you mind if I sent them your way to get some feedback on them?



      Notice how I didn’t ask for anything committing in return yet. You’re dealing with a busy person here and their time is very valuable. So instead of sending them 10 questions right away, ask them if they would be willing to help out. If they say yes, you can send them the questions and I can pretty much guarantee you that you’ll get a good answer back.

      The next step after you get the reply is pretty simple – implement the hell out of the advice and let the coach know about how it went. Do this for a while and you’ll pretty soon develop a good relationship, in fact you might even get a mentor out of it.

      Let’s move on to the next script.


      Hi [NAME],

      My name is Primoz, also known as Schnitzelfisch on Pokerstrategy. I’ve followed your blog for a while and I really liked the posts on X, Y, Z. I actually implemented concept A from post X and got these results, so that really worked well for me!

      Since you seem to be really good at A, would it be possible for us to set up a short 15 or 30 minute Skype call where I could ask you a couple of questions on this subject?

      If you’re up for it, my Skype username is: *******, and I’m free at the following times:

      Tomorrow (Saturday) at 4pm-8pm CET (use their time zone if you know it)
      Sunday and Monday all day
      Tomorrow at 5pm would work best for me.

      Are you in?


      Notice how I used a specific time and made it super easy for the other person to accept this invitation? And honestly, if you were in their place and someone sent you an e-mail like this, would you ever decline it? I don’t think so.

      One thing that you can do (if the call goes well) afterwards to build the relationship is to keep scheduling Skype calls. I usually talk with my friends on a weekly basis and after we finish a call we immediately schedule another one (I use Google Calendar for this).

      To get the most out of relationships like this, make sure that you are constantly adding value to the other person by actually implementing the advice that they give you, just like you did in the coach scenario.

      Now that you have the scripts, it’s time to put them to some use.


      1) Brainstorm 3 people (coaches or poker players) that you really admire and want to reach out to
      2) Send them the e-mails or community tool messages using the scripts above.
      3) Once you’re done, keep repeating this process until you actually have at least 5 people that you’re talking to for at least an hour a week.

      11. Accountability calls

      Using the scripts above, you will be able to find some people to talk to on a frequent basis that can hold you accountable.

      But once you connect with them, what should these calls look like? What structure should they have?

      I'll share with you the structure that I usually use with my calls.

      1) Small talk

      We usually begin the call with just a bit of small talk like "hey, how are you doing?", "what's the weather like in Germany" or something similar.

      This helps to get the conversation and create a cool, relaxed environment, and it also helps you get to know the other person better which is great for building relationships.

      2) Cool new insights / successes / wins

      Then, we dig into cool new things that we've learned in the past week or so or any successes that we've had. This helps create a positive vibe for the meeting and also allows you to appreciate your successes and support each other.

      3) Getting un-stuck

      After celebrating successes, we talk about any issues that we might be struggling with at the moment and help each other out by giving each other different points of view, ideas, resources or other people that we can reach out to in order to solve our issues.

      4) Reviewing past accountability goals

      If we haven't done this automatically already, we get to the actual part of accountability goals and review our progress towards them, as well as make adjustments to what we're doing (if something isn't working for you, find a way to do it differently).

      5) Planning 3 future goals

      The last topic is usually defining 3 new goals that we will hold each other accountable for during our next call. These are usually things that we feel slightly uncomfortable with or we might procrastinate if nobody holds us accountable for them.

      6) Scheduling next call

      This is one of the key parts of the conversation. Instead of saying "let's talk soon", we define a specific time and date for our next call and put it in the Google Calendar. In fact, you can go even further and set a recurring time and day for your meetings (I'm meeting with my accountability partner every Monday at 6pm), and at the end of the meeting just make sure that both can make it to the next meeting.

      Now of course you don't need to use such a formal structure forever - in fact, the order of topics discussed usually comes naturally after a couple of calls and it usually gets a bit mixed up anyway.

      But if you're not sure how to even get started, this is a great framework that you can follow.


      1) Find an accountability buddy for yourself
      2) Schedule your first call
      3) Experiment with using the framework above to make your calls both exciting and productive

      12. Learning from successful people

      As far as motivation goes, you’re in luck – I already did the majority of the work for you here, and I have learned a lot of the strategies from this guide by doing just this – learning from successful people and then applying the concepts that I’ve learned from them to my own lives.

      Now I’m going to show you how you can do this too in other areas of your life, since you will be able to get unstuck faster this way. In the previous chapter, I have talked about how you can reach out to people, befriend them and get advice when you get stuck, and if you haven’t done so yet, do this now because nothing will replace that.

      So, here’s the thing – if you are stuck with something, there is definitely another person somewhere out there who had the exact same issues as you have right now, but managed to overcome them. So instead of going through the trouble of figuring out the solution to the problem on your own, why not just reach out to them or analyze them?

      There are a number of ways you can do this. The first, and most effective one is asking them over e-mail or in person. If that’s not possible, you can also read their books and blog posts instead. Yes, it’s that simple, and there’s no magical solution. You can however speed up the process a little bit by knowing where to look and mainly being proactive and taking action.

      When I’m stuck with something, I reach out to my network and ask the people there if they can recommend me some books on the subject. This usually helps me get to the solution faster than by searching for these books on my own. If you don’t have a network like that yet, you can always start by googling or searching for books through keywords on amazon. And it’s the same with blogs as well – on Pokerstrategy, you can use the search feature to search for keywords in different forum sections, including the blogging section. Then, you just need to find someone that had the issues and read about how they solved them (or, you could even ask them by commenting on their blog here).

      There is another way to do this, but it takes a bit more time. You can speed up the process of getting unstuck by constantly reading books in the first place. There are a lot of great non-fiction books and biographies out there that you can read – and if you do, you will eventually see that even the most successful people in the world have problems, and that a lot of their problems are very similar to yours. And in their books, they write about their solutions to their problems extensively that you can take and implement in your own life.


      1) When you’re stuck with a problem, ask the people in your network if they ever struggled with the same problem and if yes, how did they solve it.
      2) If they say no, ask them if they do know someone who did or a book that talks about that problem
      3) Do a Google/Amazon/Pokerstrategy search on the books or blog posts on the problem
      4) If you find some blog posts on the problem but the solutions isn’t quite clear to you, reach out to the person by commenting on the blog or contacting them through the e-mail.
      5) Buy a biography of a successful person that you admire and start reading it. Once you’re done, read another one. And another one.

      13. Snowball effect

      One thing that I've learned throughout the years of working as a productivity coach and striving to be at the top of my game myself is that you usually don't randomly wake up feeling motivated.

      Think about it - would you rather wait, do nothing, and maybe become randomly motivated, or would you prefer to take control of your motivation?

      After you complete a small action step, no matter how small it is, you will likely become slightly more motivated, take another action, become even more motivated... And eventually you will find yourself in the snowball effect.

      In other words, with small, quick wins, you will be able to build momentum that will allow you to tackle bigger wins and produce motivation along the way.

      In fact, I already talk about what momentum is and how to use it to build up motivation in detail in this video.

      Once you finish watching the video, you will want to test out different activities and develop your own momentum routine that will help you produce motivation.

      And once you identify what routine works for you, you need to create a system that will allow you to actually use this momentum routine.

      In this case, you can create a simple system by performing the momentum routine each morning and creating a specific trigger for it.

      For example, if you find out that going for a short walk or a jog in the morning helps you build up the momentum, you will want to prepare clothes and running shoes next to your bed when you go to sleep to make sure that you actually remember to start your routine and make it as easy as possible for you to get it started.

      In fact, you will most likely want to create a habit out of it. And to learn more about how to create habits that stick, you should check out my guide to creating bulletproof habits, and use the habit tracking system from my Visual Planning video.


      1) Watch my video on Building Momentum
      2) Design your own Momentum Routine using the action steps from the video
      3) Write down specific triggers that will help you trigger your morning routine
      4) Check out my guide for creating bulletproof habits and build a habit out of using the morning routine
      5) Use the Habit Tracker from my Visual Planning video to track your progress with the routine

      14. Planning and self-reflection

      By planning your days and your weeks, making sure that everything you are doing is getting you closer to your goals and constantly self-reflecting, you will be able to push yourself to constantly improve and reach your goals faster.

      Whoa, that's a lot of things, right?

      Don't worry, we'll go through them step by step.

      Planning is something that not a lot of mediocre people pay attention to, but the successful people pretty much always do it consistently.

      You might have heard yourself say in the past that "you don't have time for planning" and that "you would rather spend your time doing things than planning them out".

      In a way, I understand that. But on the other hand, a week has 168 hours and the "I don't have time to take 30 minutes out of my Sunday evening to plan my week" sounds like a pretty lame excuse, considering the amount of time that you probably spend watching youtube videos and playing video games.

      Why is planning so important?

      Because it gives you clarity.

      If it's not clear what you should be working on during the week or a day, it's very likely that you will just do random things throughout the day, and it's also very likely that because of that, you won't perform at your best.

      On the other hand, once you have some kind of a plan, it's much more likely that you will actually follow through with it.

      To get started with planning, I would recommend you to block out 30 minutes each Sunday evening (or Monday/Tuesday evening if you play a lot of poker on weekends and take days off after that) and plan the week ahead.

      In that time, you can simply look over your priorities in your vision statement and design a couple of weekly goals that will help you progress towards your vision.

      If you don't have a system for planning and reviewing your goals yet, you can use my Visual Planning system for tasks.

      Another thing that works really well together with planning is self-reflection.

      By consistently asking yourself questions like "What are my biggest weaknesses?", "What are the things that are bringing me the best results?" and "What could I be doing differently?", you will be able to gain an even better clarity of what you should be working on, and your weekly goals will be much easier to design.

      If you don't ask yourself these questions, you will likely stagnate as you won't even notice the areas of your life in which you're struggling and you could improve in.

      And how can you put this in action?

      Well, it's pretty simple - just write down the questions above (and any other questions that you might find relevant) and make sure you answer them during each of your weekly reviews.

      If you want to go one step further, you can also plan each of your days separately by blocking a few minutes out of each day in the evening, planning what you want to get done next day and reflecting upon what you did/didn't do well this day.


      1) Create a system for tracking and planning your weekly goals (you can use my Visual Planning system)
      2) Write down the self-reflection questions in a document or in a notebook
      3) Block out 30 minutes each week on a specific day, at a specific time that you will use for planning and self-reflection
      4) During this time, reflect upon the past week by writing down the answers to the self-reflection questions, reviewing your vision and planning the next week
      5) If you want to go one step further, schedule 10 minutes each day in the evening (at a specific time) to reflect upon the day and plan the next one.

      15. Appreciating progress

      When you're doing your self-reflection, you shouldn't just focus on things that you could be doing better. You should also focus on finding things that you are doing good and the progress that you've already made.

      Sometimes, seeing progress is hard, especially in poker where the monetary results don't mean much in the short term.

      However, what you can focus on is looking at what you are doing good - doing your habits every day, completing your goals and acquiring new knowledge.

      In fact, what you can do is create a document or a folder where you put all of your past successes. All the things like "Managed to play poker every single day for a week" or "Completely crushed this oponent in HU", "Won my first tournament", "Jogged for 5km"... Praise even small wins like completing weekly goals, as this will help you add to your momentum.

      Once you have this document created, you can add to it the successes of the past week during the weekly planning and self-reflection period from last chapter.

      You can also automate this process and make it more frequent to some extent by signing up to iDoneThis, a free service that asks you what you got done each day.

      Now, the real power of doing this comes with time.

      After you do this for a couple of months and go back and review your past notes or your past accomplishments, you will find out just how much you've improved.

      Sometimes you will inevitably get stuck, or you will have a feeling that no matter what you're doing, you see no progress at all. Especially in those situations it can help you a lot to have a document like this that you can review how much you are actually improving.

      Whenever I review this document myself, I am astonished. That's because it's sometimes easy to get lost in the day-to-day life and working on small steps, and to forget about the big wins that happened because of them.

      The key thing to understand here is that big successes and big changes in your life don't come magically overnight. They come by doing a lot of small steps and improving day by day, week by week. And only after reviewing what we've accomplished over the last few months do we really see these changes.


      1) Create a document or a physical folder for storing past successes
      2) Once a week, during your weekly planning and self-reflection review, add the successes from the past week into this document.
      3) If you prefer a more automated solution that you can submit your successes to on a daily basis, take a look at iDoneThis.
      4) Whenever you get stuck or you feel like you aren't progressing at all, take a look at this document and look at just how much you've done over the past few months/years and then take immediate action to help yourself rebuild momentum and motivation

      16. Find your top performance hours

      Every person has some hours in the day when he is usually more motivated and others when he is less.

      This is almost never completely random and it depends on a lot of other factors, like the amount of distractions, energy levels and the amount of willpower left.

      As a rule of thumb, the less distractions that there are, the more energy you have and the more willpower you have left, the more motivated and productive you are going to be.

      For the majority of the successful people I've talked to in the past, these hours are early in the day, because after they wake up in the morning, they feel the most energized and they have the most willpower left.

      Now the truth is that for some of you, this might not be that way, and there are numerous possible reasons why it isn't.

      Maybe you wake up at 1pm each day into a world full of distractions, which is why it's easier for you to stay focused late at night when you're the only one awake.

      Maybe your sleep quality isn't good enough and you wake up tired in the morning.

      Or, maybe you just don't have morning routines set up that would allow you to be productive and you instead waste these hours by reading news and checking e-mails.

      In any case, you should identify what these hours when you usually put in the most work are and you can do that in a couple of different ways.

      You can use a program called Rescuetime to automatically track what you do on your computer, in your internet browser and on your phone.

      You can log your time (write down for each hour of the day what you were doing in a spreadsheet or a notebook).

      Once you identify those hours when you tend to get the most done, you need to do two things. You need to make them non-negotiable and you need to invest them into important activities that bring you long-term results.

      A big mistake that I used to make before I was aware of the importance of the top performance hours was that I wasn't even at home/awake during those hours.

      It might very well be happening to you that you could be very productive in the mornings, but as you sleep until 1pm you're missing out on that. Or maybe you're going out with friends for lunch, and then for a few drinks, only to waste the better part of the day.

      To prevent that from happening, you should make these hours a non-negotiable. Block them out on your calendar and don't schedule anything instead of them.

      The other part of the equation is that you use these hours on acitvities that give you the best long-term results, like for example working on your poker game (this will constantly increase your winrate and help you earn more money in the long run) or exercising (this will increase your energy levels, which will allow you to put in more work over).

      I would also recommend you to play around with this concept a bit. What happens if you start waking up earlier in the day? What happens if you go to sleep later? How do your productive hours change, and are you able to put in more work? You can very easily track this with Rescuetime or by time logging.

      You can also play around with this concept and try to expand it to days. As I like to take weekends off, I plan to do a lot of work on Mondays and Tuesdays and I won't go out for drinks on those days because I want to use my energy and the days when I feel really fresh as effectively as possible.


      1) Use Rescuetime or time logging to identify your most productive hours
      2) Block out these hours on your calendars and make sure you're using them productively
      3) Make a list of activities that will bring you long-term results that you will do during this hours like exercising or working on your game
      4) Expand on this concept and identify on which days you are usually the most motivated and block them out to prevent yourself from scheduling other activities that aren't productive on them
      5) After a few weeks, try to change your sleep schedule to see whether this helps you find more productive hours (waking up earlier or going to bed later to find more hours with less distractions)

      17. Rewards and punishments

      In his book "Drive", Daniel H. Pink writes about how effective/ineffective rewards and punishments are when it comes to motivation.

      You can also check out his TED talk on Youtube to get the core of his ideas in a 20-minute video.

      I've seen many poker players using reward and punishment systems for themselves, and I'm sure that you've seen some of them on the forums or even used them yourself.

      You know, things like "if I play 100.000 hands this month, I will buy myself a playstation". Or, even worse, rewards for the money related goals that you don't have full control over ("if I earn $1000 this month, I will do X).

      Now, since quite a few people are using similar systems and happily posting about them on the forums, you might think that they're actually very effective, right?

      Think again.

      Do you actually know anyone who has successfully used such systems to stay highly motivated for at least a year?

      I personally don't, and I've talked to many people about this.

      These systems might work for a month or two, but more often than not, they lead into a lot of frustration and stupid decisions like playing poker when you're not focused at all just to hit a target.

      Don't misunderstand me though, I'm not saying that the rewards are necessarily always bad.

      In fact, I use rewards myself to help me keep living an exciting life.

      But they're not the traditional "if, then" rewards that I wrote about above.

      Instead, I use "now that" rewards - after I have a big (or sometimes even small) success, I often like to treat myself to something cool - like a dinner with my girlfriend, going on a trip or getting new headphones.

      I don't use this as motivation in a way that I would think about what I want to do if I reach a certain goal.

      Instead, I have a list of cool and exciting things I want to do in my life (I talked about the bucket list before in this guide) and when I feel like I want to celebrate a success, I use it as a reference to always have ideas of what to do.

      This helps me stay in touch with my vision and in a way reminds me why I'm doing what I'm doing - living a lifestly that allows me to do fun, exciting things.


      1) Write a bucket list for yourself (chapter 4 of this guide)
      2) Sometimes when you are really proud of yourself for achieving something that means a lot to you, treat yourself to something exciting that is connected to your vision

      18. Overcoming self-doubt

      Sometimes, you will get in a period when you will start doubting yourself.

      This will likely happen during a downswing or after you see no progress in your game after a while.

      You will start having thoughts like "What am I doing wrong? Am I not following the right strategy? Am I not working hard enough?"

      This self-doubt isn't very productive and it will most likely get you in a very demotivated, paralyzed state.

      You won't feel like putting in any work because it will feel like no matter what you do, you keep getting the same results.

      When this happens, the best thing to do from my experience is to get an external point of view on your situation.

      Find a person who has had similar problems like you have right now and managed to successfully overcome them. This could be a poker coach, a friend or a mentor. You could find someone here on the pokerstrategy forums or even reach out to me.

      Once you find someone, get on a call with them, explain your situation to them and ask them for brutally honest feedback.

      They will usually be able to see what the problem really is, point it out to you and even provide you with solutions to solve it.

      After that, your self-doubt will be replaced with clarity.

      You will have a clear idea of what your issues are that you need to work on and you will be able to start taking action and solving them, which will help you regain your motivation.


      1) When you're doubting yourself, reach out to another person who was stuck in a similar situation before.
      2) Ask them to give you brutally honest feedback on what you could be doing differently/better
      3) Implement their advice to regain your momentum

      19. Analyze your own motivation

      I've shown you a lot of different systems, frameworks and strategies that you can use to improve your motivation for both poker and life.

      You can go even deeper on your own though and analyze what influences your motivation by just observing your current behavior.

      The easiest way of doing this is by selecting one thing that you are motivated to do and another one that you aren't, and then comparing them and finding the differences between them.

      Perhaps one is more exciting. Perhaps you usually do one of them in the morning when you're fresh and the other in the evening when you're tired.

      For example, I know that I'm always motivated to write blog posts and coach my clients because this is what I want to be doing in my life.

      On the other hand, I also know that it was always hard for me to study for subjects in school that I didn't see any benefit of - they weren't in line with my vision.

      That's how I realized that if I wanted to be motivated, I should focus more on doing exciting things that are in line with my vision and will get me where I actually want to go in my life.

      Once you figure out the difference, you can also try changing the activity that you're not motivated to do to make it more similar to the one that you are motivated to do. Find a way to make it more exciting. Try doing it at a different time of the day. Try connecting it to your vision in some way.


      1) Write down one thing that you are motivated to do
      2) Write down one thing that you aren't motivated to do
      3) Identify the difference(s) between these two
      4) Change the thing you aren't motivated to do to make it more similar to the one that you are

      By the way, you can also expand on this concept for other things in life by comparing things that you're not good at to others that you're great at and identifying what you're doing differently ;) .

      20. Moving forward

      Congratulations, you've made it through the Complete guide to motivation in life in poker!

      So, what's next for you?

      Well, if you want to dig deeper into the subject of motivation on your own, here are the books that I've found particularly useful/good:

      1) Think and grow rich
      2) 7 Habits of highly effective people
      3) Drive

      There are also other books like the Ultimate Power from Tony Robbins, As a man thinketh, etc., but they tend to be more advanced and I wouldn't start with them.

      If you implemented the action steps from this guide, you will see that they are actually repeatable systems and frameworks that you can use to reach your goals much faster. If you want to get access to other systems for crushing poker and life that I've developed over the last few years, check out my Skyrocket Your Productivity Workshop.

      If you're stuck on a problem or an issue related to productivity that you can't seem to solve and it's preventing you from moving up the limits (putting in consistent volume or theory, having a normal sleep schedule, procrastination...), feel free to check out my personalized 1-on-1 coachings and I'll be happy to help you accelerate your progress.

      What's next for me? Will I write more guides like this in the future?

      Maybe I will, but I'd like you to let me know what you would like me to write about. If you have some ideas or problems that you would like me to help you solve, please leave a comment to this post.

      If you would like to translate this guide into another language, send me an e-mail to and I'll send you the forum code that I used to write this post.

      If you liked this guide and you have a friend who's struggling with motivation, feel free to share this guide with him! Your friend will thank you for solving his problem, and I'll be grateful for sharing the knowledge as well!

      I would also be happy to hear some success stories from you once you implement the action steps from this guide, so either leave a comment to this post or send me an e-mail to - I'd love to hear from you!


      1) Share this thread with a friend that's struggling with motivation to grind, study or do other things in life
      2) Reply to this thread with any success stories that you've had with this guide, insights that surprised you or any other topics that you would like me to write in the future

      Thanks for reading!

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